When you hear about workers' compensation cases, you often hear about short-term or temporary disabilities. Unfortunately, some workplace injuries can lead to lifelong disabilities. These can negatively impact your chances of returning to the workforce or enjoying your former quality of life. If you believe you have a permanent disability, you likely have a lot of questions. Do the same workers' compensation laws apply to you? Can you still receive financial assistance from your employer? Who should you talk to about your unique situation? This post covers some crucial questions that you may have regarding your potentially permanent work-related injury.
Who Determines If Your Injury Is Permanent?
Before you seek benefits for your disability, your disability must be officially declared permanent. An independent medical examination (IME) may be performed to determine the severity of your disability. This is an examination performed by a medical professional that is not the physician you usually see.
Independent medical examiners may ask you several different questions in addition to performing a physical exam. They may ask you about
the current symptoms of your disability
the details of your accident and subsequent injury
details about your previous medical history or any medical conditions
the level of pain you are experiencing and where the pain occurs
It is important to note that independent medical examinations are not covered by typical doctor-patient confidentiality laws. Anything you tell the physician may be included in his or her report.
What Kind of Permanent Disability Benefits Are Available?
The amount of financial compensation you receive for a permanent disability will depend on many different factors. Some of those factors include the following:
Your state's laws regarding workers' compensation. Every state has unique, stringent requirements regarding workers compensation and disability benefits. Research your state laws or consult with a workers' compensation attorney.
Your permanent disability rating. This is a rating given after your medical evaluation is performed. It determines the severity of your disability.
Whether your injury is permanent and total or just total. Lifelong pension is available for people who are permanently and totally disabled; they are fully incapable of working or functioning normally again. A permanent disability may not be as severe, but it can still lead to long-term compensation.
How Can You Get More Answers and Assistance?
If you want more answers and assistance with your permanent disability case, set up a consultation with a workers' compensation attorney. Initial consultations are often free or inexpensive. Many workers' compensation lawyers charge on a contingency fee basis so you can focus on your disability now and worry about payment later.